Meet our team leads
Deb Cragen-Larsen, co-founder and chief executive officer
Deb runs (literally and figuratively) at one pace: fast. In addition to co-creating Upstart Agency, Deb is the founder and CEO of Coppei Partners, a boutique talent development firm that focuses on onboarding, management development, bench training, and intern programs. Deb was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University where she studied Psychology. When she isn’t camping in the wilderness or ice climbing on frozen waterfalls, Deb resides in Seattle with her husband and tests her leadership skills with her three rambunctious children.
Justina Chen, co-founder and chief story strategist
Storytelling runs in Justina’s blood. After all, her middle name means illuminate, which is what story does: it throws light on a message. Justina is the co-founder of Upstart Agency, a story strategist to leaders, and an award-winning novelist. She has worked for numerous presidents at Microsoft where her work was lauded for “almost single-handedly changing the way we think about executive communications.” Seen as a thought leader on executive communications, Justina joined The Rockefeller Foundation’s twelve-person convening on storytelling for social good, along with CNN, BBC, NPR, and Google. Her YA novels have won several accolades, including the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she won the Dean’s Award for Service. Justina calls Seattle home, yet feels at ease wherever she goes so long as she has her coconut black tea, journal, and pen.
Robbie Bach, strategist-in-residence
Robbie may not tell you that he was a former president at Microsoft who enjoyed various marketing, general management and business leadership roles over an expansive twenty-plus year career. But gamers know that as Chief Xbox Officer, Robbie led the creation and development of the highly successful Xbox video game business. Now in his new role as a “Civic Engineer,” Robbie believes we all have a responsibility to engage on civic issues. So he dedicates his time to strategic consulting for organizations driving positive change in our communities. He speaks to corporate, academic and civic groups across the country and is working on the follow-up to his first book, Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal.
Roberto Ramon Coronado, creative director/photographer
With 30 years of creative communications and professional photography experience, Roberto leads Upstart Agency's visual storytelling for leaders from branding to social media presence. His passion is for organizations that make an impact—whether international non-profit organizations, including Compassion, Save the Children, Campus Crusade for Christ, The World Bank, World Vision, and USAID, or brands like Microsoft, The US Air Force, Nike, and Nordstrom. When he isn’t shooting major stories, say, refugee camps and clean water, Roberto is perpetually training for marathons or his next cycling adventure.
Julie Francavilla, media communications director
Award-winning and Emmy-nominated broadcast journalist, Julie is a leading expert in strategic media coaching and communications. From TED talks to “all hands” events, and national broadcasts to Shark Tank, Julie prepares leaders to share their stories and handle the toughest questions. A morning anchor on both KIROTV and KING5TV in Seattle, Julie greeted viewers with the latest breaking news for two decades. With Julie at the anchor desk, her broadcasts consistently saw substantial and sustained growth at both stations. Her in-depth interview skills, honed with hundreds of people from Presidential candidates to Judge Judy, makes her a trusted advisor to leaders who rely on her to sharpen their presence and impact. Julie is a graduate of The University of Colorado School of Journalism. She and her family are actively involved in Seattle-area nonprofit organizations, including those that serve families and children.
Julie Wade, image stylist
Julie is the wardrobe and image stylist focused on getting you camera-ready for your high stakes moment on stage all the way to cocktails with clients afterwards. Her mission is to help leaders communicate confidence while highlighting their individuality. She works with leaders across multiple industries, including media (television/radio/video), health care, technology, and non-profit. Julie was a performing arts and classical dance major at Central Washington University. When she isn’t styling professionals and traveling for inspiration, Julie enjoys the music scene and sporting events (Go Hawks!) with her husband and two sons.
Michele Goedde, head coach
Michele is a leadership coach known for helping executives develop their authentic style and managers build high-performing teams. While in Human Resources at Microsoft, Michele partnered with leaders across all levels and around the globe. She personally led University Recruiting during some of the company’s greatest growth years, advocating for entry level talent and piloting technology innovations for tracking success still in place today. Before all that, Michele was a General Manager in the restaurant business where she honed her personal leadership and people skills. An avid student of human behavior and workplace dynamics, Michele holds an MA in Applied Behavioral Science and a BA in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. She is also a certified coach through the Coaches Training Institute. Michele keeps her creative well full as a world traveler (always the student) and ardent gardener (always about growth and potential...even in plants).
Kelli, program manager
If you want to know anything, Kelli is the first person you should ask. As the program manager extraordinaire on the Upstart team, Kelli is responsible for spearheading all of our workshops, including customized offsite retreats for entire leadership teams. She is passionate about shepherding ideas from conception to execution, thanks to her strong strategic and tactical project management skills. Well-known for her energy, enthusiasm, and collaborative leadership style, Kelli is an active community leader, non-profit board member, puppy foster mom, garden designer, and business consultant. She worked previously at Aldus and Starwave (sold to Adobe and Disney) before launching Pots2Go, a garden design firm featured at the Northwest Flower and Garden show. As a member of the Lakeside School Board of Trustees and President of the Parents and Guardians Association, Kelli oversaw a 120-member volunteer board and supervised fundraising, volunteer recruitment, training and retention, program implementation, and communications. She attended the University of Washington, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies. She has two children in college and lives in Kirkland with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. Her favorite place to be is on the water, preferably on a standup paddle board.